As you move your belongings into your new self-storage unit, the last thing you need to worry about is mold and mildew growth. Unfortunately, mold growth can become a problem if mold spores happen to find a convenient source of moisture (such as your dampened belongings) or if the unit itself becomes humid. Here are a few tips you can use to keep mold problems from happening.
Before Moving Your Stuff In, Move Moisture Out
A combination of damp weather and overall disuse can cause moisture to accumulate in a storage unit while it's unused. Before you start storing all of your belongings, it's usually a good idea to prepare your new storage unit by drying it out. The best way to do just that is to run a dehumidifier within the storage unit until the unit's relative humidity falls below 50 percent.
Thoroughly Dry Items Before Storing Them
Bathing suits, scuba gear, certain kitchen appliances and other items that are regularly exposed to moisture are prime targets for mold and mildew growth. To keep mold from flourishing throughout your storage unit, thoroughly dry these and other damp items prior to storing them.
Keep Your Belongings Off the Floor
Storing your belongings on the floor may make them more susceptible to condensation, not to mention the potential flooding and spill issues that could occur. Keeping your belongings elevated on wooden pallets is the best way to protect them from condensation.
Use Sorbents to Absorb Excess Moisture
Moisture-absorbing materials such as silica gel, charcoal and even kitty litter can easily help control excess moisture. Here are a few tips for using sorbents to control moisture levels in your storage unit:
- Used silica gel packs can be "reactivated" by heating them in an oven set between 175 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 15 minutes. Remember to use a baking sheet to minimize contact between the silica gel and cooking surfaces.
- Charcoal briquettes should be swapped out every 30 to 60 days to keep the air in your storage unit fresh and dry.
- When buying charcoal briquettes for moisture control, avoid using pre-soaked or "instant" briquettes.
When Storing Items in Plastic Bags, Make Sure They're Vacuum-Sealed
Air pockets in plastic bags can also retain moisture, which can condense and dampen items kept inside. Vacuum sealing removes all of the air from the bag, ensuring your items are kept dry and moisture-free. Vacuum sealing usually works best with clothing, jewelry and other soft and/or flexible items.